1

I came across the sentence

Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as is the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population.

Could it have been

Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as the investment infrastructure is required to provide services to the growing population?

Why is this grammar construction used here?

  • 1
    "required to provide services to...." is a reduced clause modifying infrastructure. You can understand it as "(which is) required...", and as is repeats the "are absent" predicate, only in the singular, "as is (absent) the ..." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 12 '16 at 17:27
  • 3
    Clear error. There's no modification here at all. It's a coordination construction. The expression commencing with "as" is not a clause but a preposition phrase. We understand that both the Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity and the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population are conspicuously absent. A simple coordination of two like facts. – BillJ Sep 12 '16 at 18:06
  • This Complex Sentence has a main clause and a dependent clause. The main clause is: Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent || the dependent: as is the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population. The dependent clause adds information about one more thing absent, the infrastructure, and as a sentence: The investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population is (absent). "as" is the subordinating conjunction introducing the clause. I'll add a link about Dependent Clauses. – Arch Denton Sep 12 '16 at 20:37
  • Bill is spot-on. The meaning is thus "Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity and the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population are conspicuously absent. – user36764 Sep 14 '16 at 18:39
1

Logically, the straightforward form of the sentence would be

Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population is.

But when you have a very long subject (the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population) and a short verb phrase (is) in a subordinate clause, it can be difficult for the hearer or reader to parse, and English allows you to swap them: this process is called extraposition, and gives you the original sentence

Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as is the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population.

When the subject itself has an embedded relative clause, it is also possible to extrapose only that clause. So if the subject were the fuller the investment infrastructure that is required to provide services to the growing population, you could extrapose that relative clause:

Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as the investment infrastructure is that is required to provide services to the growing population.

In principle, you can do this even with the "reduced relative clause" required to provide services to the growing population, but as others have pointed out, the result (your second sentence) has another, more obvious, reading with a different structure. But in speech, and with a comma after "is", I can imagine somebody saying your second sentence.

I agree with others that this "as is" has become a set phrase, but I think in this case it is completely analysable and doesn't have a special meaning.

  • But it sounds awful. "Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as the investment infrastructure is that is required to provide services to the growing population." I'll stick with YOUR straightforward interpretation, which coincidentally, happens to be mine. I had to revise my comments because of "as." I couldn't make up my mind what it was, though most of the time I see it as a subordinating conjunction. How to fit (absent) after the verb, meant using it as "understood." I appreciate the support. I owe you one. – Arch Denton Sep 12 '16 at 21:13
  • 1
    You're massively over-analysing and have thus missed the obvious fact that the two elements are in coordination. "As is" effectively means "and". The meaning is thus "Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity and the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population are conspicuously absent. And there is no 'reduced' relative clause present: the subordinate clause commencing "required" is a non-finite past-participle clause postmodifying 'investment infrastructure'. – user36764 Sep 14 '16 at 18:51
  • @PaulM: that is indeed the meaning, but it's a strange analysis, since it splits the coordinated subject, with the VP in between. And there is indeed a reduced relative clause, specifically a "reduced object passive relative clause". – Colin Fine Sep 14 '16 at 21:16
1

This sentence puts together three parallel ideas:

  1. Environmental considerations are conspicuously absent
  2. Australia’s absorptive capacity is conspicuously absent
  3. The investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population is conspicuously absent

The first two ideas are put in parallel with a simple and. The third idea is put in parallel using the conjunction as with the meaning in the same way. here is another example of this usage:

As is often the case with children, Amy was completely better by the time the doctor arrived

They could all have been paralleled using and, but the author chose for reasons of literary style to use a different method with the last item.

In your alternative sentence, as now takes on the meaning because, which suggests a causality that does not exist in the original sentence.

-1

Could it have been as the investment infrastructure is required to [...]?

No. "As is" is a fixed phrase. The "as-is" part of the sentence means:

The investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population is also conspicuously absent

In this case, "as is" means something like "as well as"; it introduces another item which has the same property (being conspicuously absent).

Moving is as you suggested ends up with this sentence:

"Environmental considerations and Australia’s absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as the investment infrastructure is required to provide services to the growing population".

This version means something different. This version means that Environmental considerations and Australia's absorptive capacity are absent because investment infrastructure is required.

  • Downvoter: What is wrong with the answer? – eques Sep 12 '16 at 19:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.